How many times have we seen this? Some woke person gets worked up over someone else wearing a hat that shows their support for Trump and decides to go nuts in public. It happened again yesterday in Palo Alto, California. A 74-year-old Jewish man named Victor was wearing the hat in a Starbucks when a woman he didn’t know approached him and started shouting. From KTVU:
“This woman came over and not only started screaming at me, she turned to the Starbucks audience and said, ‘Hey everybody come here! This guy’s a racist! This guy hates brown people!’” said Victor, wearing a yarmulke on his head Wednesday instead of his MAGA hat.
The woman who shouted at Victor identified herself on Facebook as Rebecca Mankey. She posted two photos of Victor and encouraged other people who saw him around town to join in and harass him. From an archive of her Facebook post:
Anybody in Palo Alto know this freak. He was sitting in Starbucks. I think he lives in Palo Alto. He will never forget me and will think seriously about wearing that hat in my town ever again. If you see him in this hat, please confront him. You do not want to be the person who didn’t speak up as we slipped into fascism.
I yelled at him. Called the entire Starbucks to order and yelled at him more about how it is not ok to hate brown people. He threatened to call the cops. I left after yelling at him some more.
When I walked back by after picking up my lunch, he was still there. I went back in and yelled that I had changed my mind and wanted him to call the police because I wanted to know his name, where he lived, his wife’s name, and where his kids went to school…
The part that was really heartbreaking to me was that in a full Starbucks, I was the only person yelling at him. There were other white people there who should have called him out. It is the duty of every white person in America to stand up to this every time they see it.
When someone responded to Mankey’s Facebook post suggesting that she had gone too far, she replied, “I am going to publicly shame him in town and try to get him fired and kicked out of every club he is in.” She continued, “I am going to go to his house and march up and down carrying a sign that says he hates black people. I am going to organize protests where he works to make him feel as unsafe as he made every brown person he met today.”
Alas, that plan didn’t work out too well for Mankey who is an affordable housing activist who also worked as an office manager in a local guitar shop. When her boss at the guitar shop found out about what she’d done, he fired her. From the Palo Alto Post:
By Tuesday afternoon, Mankey was fired, according to the management at Gryphon Stringed Instruments, also called Gryphon Strings, a company that sells, rents and repairs used and vintage instruments from guitars to mandolins.
“We understand how passionate she is regarding politics. We never could have imagined it would have escalated to this kind of ordeal,” Gryphon Strings store manager Matt Lynch told the Post. “Putting political beliefs aside, you know, we are just not going to tolerate that kind of harassment from any of our employees, no matter what position they hold here.”
The decision to fire Mankey wasn’t made by the manager but by the store’s owner who has apparently known Mankey since grade school. He told KTVU he sees his store as a place where everyone is welcome:
“It’s not every day that you come to work and have something like that land in your lap,” said Richard Johnston, owner of Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto.
He says Mankey was the office manager the past four years, at the guitar sales and repair shop.
Tuesday his phones were ringing with inquiries, caustic comments, and threats in reaction to the social media posts. He decided to fire Mankey, a friend since grade school. But the sacking isn’t due to the firestorm, but because her actions – publicly bullying someone because of their political beliefs – are contrary to his beliefs.
“We’ve always felt that Gryphon was the equivalent of kind of a musical town square for the community. And we welcome people of all views,” said Johnston.
I don’t like seeing people get fired over politics but in this case, what can you say. She literally vowed to make this exact outcome happen to a stranger over a hat. If ever there was a case of poetic justice, this is it. I’d like to think this could be a learning experience for Mankey but really, if she hasn’t learned this lesson by age 46, she probably won’t learn it now.
Here’s a report from KPIX: